Herbs in Jars on Shelves at Moonrise Herbs in Arcata. | Photo by Maia Wood

Herb alternatives for students

Different herbs that you can use for everyday ailments and problems.

Everyday ailments and problems often have herbal alternatives

Plants and herbs have been used for centuries to treat different ailments. With big pharmaceutical companies handing opioids out like candy, many are turning to alternative treatments for different problems.

Sophia Laverdiere is a local herbologist at Moonrise Herbs in Arcata. Laverdiere received her education at The Southwest institute of Healing Art in Phoenix, Arizona, she has extensive knowledge of over 140 plants.

“Before pharmaceuticals how did humans survive?” Laverdiere said. “We have all these plants that do everything we need.”

Sophia Laverdiere is a local herbologist at Moonrise Herbs in Arcata. | Photo by Maia Wood

She described what the term ‘disease’ means in her line of work.

“Disease literally is dis-ease in your body,” Laverdiere said.

When you have health problems, that means your body is not in balance with the environment around you.

Pharmaceutical drugs and medicine are often derived from plants. Scientists isolate the chemicals in plants that help treat ailments in humans, so going to plants to treat illness is not so far off. Using the whole plant, instead of part, can provide benefits for illness and disease. Before going to a pill, try some of these herbal alternatives.



· Description: “Leaves look like lungs”

· Use: Soothes the bronchioles

· Origination: Used by the Native Americans

· How to Consume: Tincture

Local Organic Honey and Pollen:

· Use/ Benefits: For asthma and allergies

· Builds immune system by exposing you to local allergens

· How to Consume: Eat a spoonful

Anxiety & Stress


· Use/ Benefits: Sleep and pain

· Origination: Chinese herb, means “strength of a horse.” The medicine comes from the root of the plant.

· Lowers your cortisol levels, which get overloaded during stress.

· How to Consume: Tincture

Holy Basil:

· Use/Benefits: For extreme and severe anxiety and panic attacks.

· Origination: India, used in almost every home in India. Considered to be a sacred plant. The whole plant is used for medicine.

· Lowers your blood pressure and eases your heart muscles.

· How to Consume: Tea and tincture. You can just pick the leaves of the plant to consume.


· Use/ Benefits: Natural nervous system relaxant because there are some many vitamins and nutrients in oatmeal. These factors come together to create a natural calming effect in your body.

· Cheap and accessible at most grocery stores.

· “Food Medicine”


Rubious (Rhobilea, Rosea) In the Rose family:

· Uses/Benefits: This herb gives you a natural boost of energy and vitality.

· Calms down the central nervous system. Helps increase the moods in your brain

· How to Consume: Tea or tincture. A little goes a long way.

Passion Flower/ Passion Fruit:

· Uses/Benefits: When you wake up at any time at night

· Works to help reset the brain cycles

· How to Consume: Eat before bed

California Poppy:

· Uses/ Benefits: For deep sleep and to stay asleep

· Hypnotic herb which means to induce sleep

· How to Consume: Tea or tincture

· Uses the whole plant for medicine

Next time, before you reach for something in your medicine cabinet, pick up a whole plant or herb instead.

“Plants are here to help us, instead of just taking a pill derived from plants. Go the source and use the whole plant,” Laviedere said.

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